Why I Buy Origami Books

It was the 1988 Holiday season in New York City. I was walking south on the east side of a very busy Fifth Avenue when I stopped suddenly, spellbound by the image of a huge Christmas tree filled with decorations of folded paper figures revolving in the windows of a Japan Airlines office. It was a life changing moment and soon after that late December afternoon I bought the first one of my now-large-collection of origami books: “Origami Omnibus” by Kunihiko Kasahara.

One of the first models I folded from this book was the llama on page 144 that is pictured above. It seems silly to me now, but for the next few years I hesitated to buy another origami book thinking I had to finish folding all the models in Kasahara’s book before getting another book.

Then one day I came across ‘Origami Plain and Simple’ by Robert Neale and Thomas Hull. This book really tickled my interest.  After a lot of internal debate -remember, I hadn’t finished all the models in Kasahara’s book, I bought it.

What a liberation! All of a sudden I realized I didn’t have to complete all the models in one book before folding models in another.

Since that second acquisition I’ve been adding origami books to my collection on a regular basis, deeply appreciating how fortunate I am to live in a place where these books are accessible.

Here is a list of origami books I love and recommend

My personal rule is that if I like a book in whole or in part, even if there are only one or two models that interest me at first, I’ll buy it. My reasoning is that since most origami books go out of print relatively soon, never to be republished, the window of opportunity to get the book might be pretty narrow and opportunity doesn’t often knock twice.

Having a library of origami books fosters creativity and feeds the imagination. I visit the books on my bookshelf often, sometimes opening them at random to discover some great model that I’d missed otherwise. Also, I might see a photo of a beautiful model on the internet and realize that I have the book with the diagrams! Fun! Fun! Fun!

Lastly, buying origami books is a way of thanking the authors for drawing diagrams and making them available to us!

Visit this page to read short reviews on origami books for beginners, intermediate and advanced paper folders.

9 thoughts on “Why I Buy Origami Books”

  1. Hi Layla!
    My mom was one of the early members of OUSA in NY. When she passed I gave away many of her books to the library and to a folders group she started there many years ago. A group that lives on even though she’s gone. 😍
    I saved some books for me but also kept a few that I think are very rare. Do you have any suggestions for selling them? You would probably faint if I told you about all the Fold magazines and convention books my sister got rid of… (euphemism for trashed…😖) I’ve sold some on eBay over the years that she didn’t need anymore. Happy Origami was one I remember selling with most of the models intact!!! Any suggestions are appreciated.

  2. Leyla, the book you describe above is the first Origami book that I owned. It was given to me in early 1960’s. I was 10 or 11 yrs. old. I took good care of it. All of the attached folded pieces & dust jacket are intact. Nearly 30 years later, when by chance Lillian Oppenheimer invited me to her apartment for lunch & folding (she was in her 90s), I brought that book with me for her to autograph. She wrote the introduction. She encouraged me to visit again, and bring a friend, which I did. That book always was, and still is, my most treasured origami book.

    • A couple of days ago I was looking at a book I was lucky enough to find years ago at The Strand, a second-hand bookstore in NYC: “All about Origami” by Isao Honda, published in 1960. At the beginning of the chapters it included some actual folded pieces. Only one piece survived in the copy I have. I treasure this book!

  3. You’re right! I think origami books are like once in a lifetime chances! I’ll follow your advice and buy a good book if I see one of intrest!
    PS. That origami heart beside the bookshelf picture at the bottom of the page is really cute. Is there a video tutorial for that?


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